Day 20 of a Whole30 - need guidance on improving results

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created August 08, 2013 at 4:40 PM

Hello - my first time posting here. I have been doing the Whole30 for 20 days. Here is what I am experiencing. I feel like I'm all over the place. The entire process has been rather discouraging. I would love some advice or guidance on what I can do to improve my experience and take control of my health. Thanks in advance.

Pre-Whole30 - I have a history with digestive issues that I believe are related to candida overgrowth - bloating, gas, weight gain. I eliminated it with a mostly paleo diet and going off of birth control about a year ago. About 8 months ago I fell back into a 60% paleo, 40% SAD diet. I didn't see significant issues until I began swimming regularly, which is when I started to rapidly gain weight and became gassy and bloated and fatigued again. I understand chlorine can lead to candida. I stopped swimming recently. I decided to reset my system with a whole30. I am currently about 15-20 lbs overweight, and its essentially ALL in my belly - I look about four months pregnant.

Whole30 days 1-5 - A little tired here and there. No positive or negative changes.

Days 6-7 - Start taking digestive enzymes and probiotics. My bloat and gas are lessened. My belly is still fat. Constipated. Energy levels slightly increase.

Days 8-10 - I increase my vegetables in relation to protein. Start taking magnesium to aid in constipation. Energy levels are great - I am sleeping well each night.

Days 11-16 - I notice that my BM's either do not happen, happen with a great deal of strain and pain, or I have diarrhea. It all depends on how much magnesium and probiotics I am taking. My belly is still fat - no change in how my clothes fit. Eating more and more veggies and fat, less carbs.

Days 17-19 - I get a urinary tract infection. I begin d-mannose powder (for the UTI) and am drinking water by the gallon. My belly is still fat - no change in clothes - I reduce my carbs to about 40g per day (about 10%).

Day 20 - today. The UTI continues. I began the antibiotics. I believe I have carb flu. I have a headache and the thought of any food makes me want to vomit.

Here is what I am eating:

The first week was a lot of carrots, cucumber, guacamole. As time goes on, I have been trying to have more salad greens, spinach, etc, broccoli, green things. A lot of tomatoes in sauce. Zucchini, eggplant, avocado.

Fruit initially included cantaloupe, strawberries and blueberries. Shifted to cantaloupe, grapes, and bananas. Eliminated all fruit a couple of days ago.

Meats - a mix of pork, beef, and chicken. I keep promising myself to be more adventurous soon.

Fats - Olive oil, coconut oil. I use a lot when cooking. Historically I have had issues digesting a lot of fat. The enzymes have REALLY helped.

Nuts/seeds - I have thrown these in salads and such, but have tried for the most part to avoid them.

Beverages - I've had iced black tea twice - a lot of Tazo Passion tea - but mostly water. I drink about 8-10 glasses per day.

Supplements: Digestive enzymes Probiotics Magnesium Fish oil

I have been very good about being strict though the probiotics may have traces of soy in them and the digestive enzymes I took at first had traces of lactose. I know this means I don't get to "officially" say I did a whole30 but whatever. I'm quite sure that is not the cause of my issues.

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2 Answers



on August 08, 2013
at 09:27 PM

Hi Emily - Whole9 blog has message boards that might be more help for you. They might be able to point you towards a naturopath or nutritionist on their team that could help you more, but in general, are you eating 3 meals a day? Have you stopped using food as crutch? Are you eating whole foods? Whole 30 is not low-carb, just like paleo is not low-carb. You could be eating maybe 1 lb of sweet potato or potatoes (1/3 lb per meal) and still be considered within their guidelines.

I think of whole 30 as being useful for people who have had issues with food - binging, starving themselves, eating junk - basically a lot of people. And then, once you've figured out, "hey I can live without sugar! I can live without cheese! This type of food's not so bad and I feel kind of better!" - that is when you might start tackling health problems.

I would advise you, make sure you're digging the food. I think they tell you no supplements, but what do I know. Don't stress and enjoy your meals- chew your food, and get good sleep, take some walks, etc.

Then, after 30 days, start exploring a little. I like the perfect health diet, because it might help you figure out if you really have candida or something else. If you want to know if you have fungal overgrowth (there are tons of fungi in the human body, not just candida) you can take a stool test - Metametrix is a good one, GI Effects. Find a doctor who's willing to prescribe that and help you with your problems.

Perfecthealthdiet.com (I don't work for them, just have trolled around a lot on their site and really like the science behind what I see)

Their idea is basically that malnourishment, as well as infections, are what cause health problems. And then you get stuck in a cycle where the infection can cause you to be more malnourished which can cause more health problems, like bloating, weight gain, inability to lose weight, losing weight too fast, etc.

Edited to say: The only thing I might add to your diet is some bone broth. Grass Fed beef bones are usually pretty cheap and I think if you add some lime, lemon juice, or apple cider vinegar, which leaches the minerals from the bones, beef broth is a great source of magnesium, calcium, and GREAT for losing weight. I mean, it's a really nourishing, and if you want to skim the fat, pretty low calorie way of eating. Also super delicious. Pho, chicken soup, pork ramen broth. Look up recipes for these and you can't go wrong. (But look at cheater's pho, as pho from scratch is entirely way too long)

And just FYI, in general, it seems like one has to improve health to get to a healthy weight, not getting to a healthy weight first and then worrying about health.

Your motto should be: Health first, time, and then weight loss. You have to make sure you don't get malnourished in the process - which is very easy, because you're unknowingly eating too little, maybe you have a fungal infection from being on antibiotics a lot, birth control messed up copper/zinc balance, perhaps you get diarrhea from eating out, etc. (again from what I've seen/experienced/read these are potential causes).

With time, and improved health, you'll probably see improvements in your weight. But bone broth will definitely help with that (and drinking so much water might be the source of your bloat?_ Seriously, changing up water for broth during meals was one of the best things I ever did-my digestion is a million times better now Good luck!


on August 09, 2013
at 11:18 AM

Thanks for your response. I have been posting at their forum, but I just wanted to see if there was any advice over here...I feel like I am just experimenting like crazy and its exhausting.

The supplements I am taking are whole9/whole30 approved. They encouraged me to start the enzymes and magnesium based on my posts/questions. Fish oil is recommended for those who cannot get grass-fed meat. Probiotics are recommended for some people as well.

I never really did use food as a crutch. I am eating 3 square meals. I do not feel deprived at all - eating until full, stopping and not eating again until I'm hungry. Its interesting to me how easy it was to transition to the whole30. I guess I was not eating as poorly as I thought, because eliminating all the sugar/dairy/wheat/soy/grain/etc was really easy for me. I cook all meals - no snacking in between - and I really enjoy cooking and finding new things I enjoy eating.

As far as carbs - I was eating about 80-100g per day for the first few weeks, include sweet potatoes, fruits, etc. I thought that reducing the carbs might help me reduce belly fat so eliminating those was just an experiment for the past few days.

I'm sleeping 8-9 hours a night, walking about 30 minutes per day. I mean, overall I feel like the whole30 has not been a challenge for me in the slightest and its not impacting my health at ALL. Which is shocking!

Anyway - I will check out the Perfect Health Diet after the 30 days are up. I'm just super bummed because I am spending a lot of time and money and not seeing any of the expected benefits. :(

Also planning to see a naturopath next week...

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